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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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Farm Program

(By Practical Experience in a Man's Lifetime.)

I was born in a farm in Sheboygan County, Wis., in 1879. In 1892, Father, his five sons and one daughter located in Mower county. Minn., on a farm. In 1924 I moved my family to Winneshiek county, Iowa. In 1934, I was elected State Senator in this great state of Iowa, on a platform of homestead tax exemption.

As to a farm program, I believe in the normal Granary Storage Plan for the crops grown in different states; I also believe in cost of production plus a profit to the farmer.

Farming is different than any other business. (1) It takes 90 to 120 days, with sunshine and rain, to grow the average crop, to say nothing of the potential hazards of hail, drought, wind, blight, rust, and insects, which destroy the farmer's crop. The farmer takes the risk and it is the duty of every citizen to work towards the goal that he may get cost of production. (2) Farming is the basic industry in the United States. The price of the farmer's products, in each state, at a cost of production is prosperity; below cost of production is depression.

Let us look back at some of the depression years. Let's start with 1890 and use 65 years as the average man's life span. We'll start with the days of President Cleveland; the horse and buggy days. At that time we had a low standard of living, no work for the laborer and insufficient paychecks. We called these the Coxey's Army days. Farm products were cheap, but so was everything the farmer bought. I picked corn for a farmer in Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, for which I was payed two cents a bushel. The farmer sold the corn for 11 cents a bushel.

A schoolteacher boarded at this farmer's home. She earned $40.00 a month and payed $10 a month for board and room.
This farmer owned 160 acres of land on which he payed $54.00 taxes. In order to pay his taxes, he sold about 500 bushels 'of corn. In those days people could get along, but they were not satisfied.

Now let's look at the years when Hoover was president. These were days of a higher standard of living, automobiles, paved highways and graveled roads. There was a little increase in wages, but not much work could be found.

Taxes were increased to about $160 on 160 acres of land. The price of corn was down to about ten cents a bushel. There was no market for corn, at times, and it was used for fuel in schools and homes. It now took 1500 bushels of corn to pay taxes on 160 acres of land. Since the farmer didn't have the corn, he could not pay his Taxes or support his family.

Farm and home foreclosures were the result. People lost their life's savings and farmers were desperate. They dumped milk, hogs and cattle along the highways. They took judges out of the courthouses to stop the foreclosures. These were days when we needed a storage and price support plan.

Now let's look at the years of-prosperity; the years when President Truman was in office, Then came a storage and price support plan and a higher standard of living. The price of corn, the basic crop in Iowa, was $1.50 to $2.00 a bushel. Teachers earned from $200 to $400 a month. The wages of common labor were highest in the history of the United States. More money created more buying power and brought prosperity to all the smaller businesses.

Taxes on an Iowa farm were the lowest they had been since the horse and buggy days. On 160 acres of land. you payed about $3.00 an acre, or $380.00, less than the price of 300 bushels of corn. The farmer had the corn and could pay these taxes.

Under President Truman, taxes amounted to 300 bushels of corn; under President Cleveland, 500 bushels and under President Hoover, 1500 bushels of corn.

Let's protect what we gained during President Truman's term of office.
For 20 years the U.S. government experimented with a farm program which has brought farm economy to a fairly high level of prosperity. Since Secretary Benson has taken office, this program has fallen apart rapidly.

The 864.00 question is this: Why do we export commodities which we already produce too much of in our own country?. And we train our farmers to raise more at the taxpayer's expense.

Write to me if you approve of my program. Also write to me if you don't approve of it, and tell me why not.--Sam D. Goetsch, 310 N. Mill St., Decorah Ia

Contributed by: Fran Johnson

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